Delivering success on tap for Scottish Water, with a creative consumer PR campaign

Scottish Water Consumer PR, Public Sector PR


When 2020 came, Scottish Water wanted to build on the success of Your Water Your Life (YWYL) – a campaign to encourage people to top up from the tap to benefit the planet, their health and their pocket.
But none of us foresaw the year ahead. Lockdowns and restrictions meant water usage habits changed. This posed a mighty challenge. Scottish Water wanted everyone to continue to drink plenty of tap water, and to wash hands and surfaces more than ever.  But added pressure on water supplies meant it had to ask people to use water wisely. 
It might have been easier to use the Covid crisis as a reason to drop the campaign. Instead we redefined objectives to adapt to circumstances, with health, hygiene and the protection of nature top of mind.
It called for us to communicate messages across multiple channels in the most compelling way – with PR playing a key role in delivering important behavioral changes.


The aim was to rally people around a common cause: to protect nature while protecting one another.
The strategy was to be present across multiple channels to influence change and support the YWYL ideals.
In partnership with creative agency AlwaysBeContent (ABC), we initiated an integrated campaign using organic, paid, geo-targeted, TV, print and radio content.
Specifically, this covered:
PR – Media: The delivery of a range of creative moments to amplify the messaging with local and national media; showing Scottish Water cared for communities.
PR – Social Media: With research showing that Scottish Water was least visible among younger people, creative, engaging and shareable content was dialed up to appeal to this group, as well as reaching wider audiences.
Creative: To motivate change, the creative for the TV and radio advertising had to be inspirational engaging and informative.

What we did

The PR creative moments focused on three strands:
PR Events – Developing a blend of tea with Edinburgh company Eteaket to perfectly complement Scotland’s tap water; working with Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to give  tips (including via video) on how to water lawns more efficiently and the best plants which require less water; focusing on the rise in house plant sales, driven by those working from home, and how to water them properly; Partnering with TV nutritionist Amanda Hamilton to help parents keep school kids hydrated – and to include a reusable water bottle as part of their back-to-school preparations.
Top up Taps launches – Scottish Water installed 50+ Top up Taps across Scotland where people could top up refillable water bottles. Creative PR events – bespoke to each area – were conceived to secure 100% coverage in local media.  
Social Media – Unique content was produced to emphasise the health and hygiene benefits of Scotland’s tap water during lockdown; ranging from advice for people feeling stressed to examples of how the supply network was continuing uninterrupted.

Results we delivered

News articles

Opportunities to see

Rise in people carrying refillable bottle

People agreeing Scottish tap water is world class

Increase in public positivity to Scottish Water

Website visits